The UK’s Many Political Parties Explained

In the aftermath of the UK voting to leave the European Union, leaders of Britain’s political parties have begun to jump ship to avoid dealing with the Brexit crisis Party leaders David Cameron and Nigel Farage have both resigned, and Boris Johnson has decided not to run for Prime Minister

The country will likely see radical changes, so we wanted to know, what are the UK’s political parties that will dictate its future? Well, not unlike the United States, the United Kingdom primarily operates under two major parties, however third parties are not nearly as disregarded as they are in the US Early UK politics was primarily between the Whigs, which represented the English aristocracy versus Tories, made up of the Church of England and the landed gentry, or landowners Once official political parties began to form between the 1830s and 1860s, most Tories became the right leaning Conservative Party, while the Whigs turned into the left wing Liberal Party By the early 20th century, the Liberal Party was replaced as the majority left party by a similar, but workers’ rights focused Labour Party These two parties have since alternated power, but third parties have seen major support within Parliament, and are able to influence government policy in a significant way

The largest party by vote is the “officially called” Conservative and Unionist Party, which will be led by David Cameron until his official resignation as Prime Minister In the 2015 General Election, the party received nearly 37% of the vote, and represents moderate economic principles and Euroscepticism, or opposition to the European Union The next largest party, with about 30% of the vote is the Labour Party, headed by Jeremy Corbin Like its original incarnation, it is pro-workers rights and supports the EU, as well as implementing democratic socialism, such as the type found in some Nordic countries However, the Labour Party also implements a process called “The Third Way”, which is a centrist mixture of left and right economic principles

In fact, much of UK politics is more centrist than ideologically rigid The Labour Party also has a reliant partnership with the Co-operative Party, which holds 25 seats in Parliament, and IS an officially registered party, but does not have a central leader While both Labour and Conservative lean ideologically away from each other, they are closer to the center than other, third parties The largest third party following the 2015 general election is the UK Independence Party, which received 12 and a half percent of the vote It is a right-wing group promoting anti-immigration, Euroscepticism, and a relative free market economy called “liberalism”

Its soon to be ex-leader, Nigel Farage, was accused of encouraging the Brexit vote through dishonest propaganda, such as promising millions of pounds to be used for health care, which it likely will not be On the other side of the political spectrum is the Liberal Democrats party These are progressives who oppose overreaching government intervention, while supporting a government safety net for things like housing and medical care In the recent election, they received less than 8% There are actually more than ten political parties holding seats in the House of Commons, with some of the smaller ones focused on Irish and Scottish independence, and various green parties focused on environmentalism and social equality

But besides those with direct representation, there are also dozens of local parties, including one “Fancy Dress Party”, a protest group formed in 1979 But with party leaders resigning en-masse following the Brexit vote, the future of the UK and its political system seem uncertain, and may just see a third party finally end the domination of two parties

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